How Some People Travel to the U.S. After Positive Covid Tests


Michelle Fishman calls it the “worst-case scenario that you don’t really think through.”

After a three-week vacation in Greece, the 52-year-old hotel art consultant from Miami and her husband took pre-departure coronavirus tests required to fly home from overseas. She tested positive, he did not.

Although coronavirus travel restrictions have eased across many parts of the world, the United States still requires all international air passengers to present a negative test taken within one day of departure. And according to guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ms. Fishman should have isolated and delayed travel for 10 days, but she said she had to get home earlier to officiate at a wedding.

Instead, she took advantage of a quirk in the rules to head home after five days (the mandatory self-isolation period required by the Greek government) via a “backdoor” — crossing into the United States by land, which does not require a coronavirus test, rather than by air. Because Canada does not require a test for entry, the couple first flew to Toronto and, after spending a night there, Ms. Fishman and her husband drove across the border into Buffalo and caught a flight home. (There is no testing requirement for flying domestically.)

“I had zero symptoms, no fever, nothing. I felt fine and when you’re stateside, the C.D.C. says you can end isolation five days after testing positive, so the same rules should apply when I’m traveling,” Ms. Fishman said. “It makes no sense that I can go to a wedding five days after a positive test in Miami, but if I catch the virus when I’m on vacation I can’t fly home. That should be illegal.”

It is not clear how many infected people are using backdoor routes to get home, which can also include flying to Mexico and using a land crossing there, because airlines do not require passengers to provide reasons for canceling or changing flights. But strong anecdotal evidence indicates that some travelers — and travel advisers — are sharing suggestions for how to avoid getting stuck.

In flying to Toronto, Ms. Fishman said she was following the guidance of a family friend who used a similar backdoor route to get home to Boston when he tested positive in France in April.

Asked if she was worried about infecting other passengers on her long journey home from Greece (she tested positive again, on her fifth day), Ms. Fishman pointed to the C.D.C.’s guidance for people who catch the virus in the United States, which says that asymptomatic people or those with symptoms that have resolved within the five-day isolation period can leave their homes. The recommendation is based on the science that the majority of coronavirus transmission occurs early in the course of the illness, the C.D.C. said.

“I slept in the same bed as my husband for five nights and he didn’t catch it, so I don’t think I was contagious by the time I took the flight home,” Ms. Fishman said. “I wore a mask the whole time.”

The C.D.C. did not say why it has different policies in place for Americans who test positive at home and abroad, but a spokeswoman for the agency reiterated that travelers should follow the 10-day guidance to not travel before boarding a flight to the United States, even if they test negative. The Department of Homeland Security declined to comment on the possibility of travelers using land borders to circumvent the testing requirement for air travel.

The United States introduced the testing requirement in January 2021, when fewer than 10 percent of Americans were vaccinated and cases of new infections and hospitalizations were reaching record levels. Now, with higher vaccination rates and less severe cases of the virus, many American travelers, as well as industry representatives, are calling for the requirement to be lifted, arguing that it does little to prevent new variants of the virus from spreading in the United States.

“The existence of these workarounds highlights the absurdity of the current inbound testing policy that is nothing short of ineffective,” said Erika Richter, vice president of communications at the American Society of Travel Advisors, a trade organization. “We’re not following the science.”

David Freedman, president-elect of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, is concerned by travelers using this method, warning that infectious people taking a flight or public transportation to a border crossing will put a lot of people who are not up-to-date on their vaccinations at risk, including at airport eateries and other places along the way.

“From a public health point of view, the infectious person may be carrying in one of the new variants BA. 4 or BA. 5 which is more infectious and is not so common yet in the U.S.,” he said. “There may be new enhanced vaccines by the fall and introducing these variants sooner rather than later may be bad.”

After testing positive in Stockholm in early April, one American traveler and her wife decided to return to Seattle via Vancouver, because a U.S.- Canada border crossing was relatively close to their home. If she was required to take a test upon arrival at the Vancouver airport, she said, she planned to drive home and isolate there. The woman asked to speak anonymously, because she was afraid of negative repercussions.

“We had symptoms for about two weeks before testing positive. By the time we actually tested positive we felt great, with barely any symptoms, so we felt confident to travel,” she said. “Vancouver airport is pretty chill and low-key. If you look healthy, determined and at ease, no one is going to pull you out of a crowd.”

Upon arrival, Canadian officials often ask passengers health questions, and some airports, like those in Toronto and Vancouver, may randomly select some passengers to take coronavirus tests before being cleared to leave the airport.

The Canadian authorities warn infected people against attempting to transit through Canada, saying that they are not permitted to board flights into the country if they have Covid-19 symptoms or have been infected within 10 days of their departure. Before arriving in Canada, travelers have to fill out a health and travel form on the ArriveCAN app. The form contains a number of questions, including vaccination status and whether a passenger has coronavirus symptoms.

“All travelers arriving in Canada are obligated by Canadian law to respond truthfully to all questions,” said Rebecca Purdy, a senior spokeswoman for the Canada Border Services Agency.

“Travelers who knowingly travel to Canada with an active Covid-19 infection and who do not disclose this information may face penalties and/or criminal charges and foreign nationals may also be denied entry and/or banned from returning to Canada,” Ms. Purdy said.

Mexican authorities did not return requests for comment. U.S. travelers may enter Mexico without testing or quarantine, though they may be subject to health screenings on arrival.

Despite the expense of last-minute bookings, the backdoor routes are also being used by people preemptively, to ensure they can travel home on time.

Hilary Aranda, 39, a user-experience designer, had just finished a two-week dance tour in Italy when 12 Americans in her group tested positive. To avoid a positive result and the possible headaches involved, she never took a test, instead canceling her flight home to Los Angeles for a flight to Tijuana, Mexico, with layovers in London and Mexico City. She then crossed the land border into San Diego and drove home. The changes to her itinerary set her back more than $2,000.

“Everyone around me had Covid and I knew with my luck that if I took the test, it would come out positive and I didn’t want to risk it,” said Ms. Aranda, who wore a mask on her flights. “Looking back, it was kind of a crazy decision and a big schlep, but I had to get back to my life and kids.”

Some travelers who are more risk-averse, but still determined to avoid isolation in another country, have been using telemedicine services like Quick MD to obtain “documentation of recovery” that allows people to travel to the United States without having to show a negative test. The option is available to travelers who continue to test positive 10 days after their initial positive test or onset of symptoms, as it can take weeks or even months before some people test negative.

During the video or phone consultation with a medical professional authorized to give travel clearance, some travelers have been lying about the date their symptoms started so that they can return home without having to complete the 10-day isolation period.

“It was a three-minute consultation, and I just told the doctor that my symptoms started earlier than they did,” said one traveler, who asked to speak anonymously out of fear of getting into trouble with authorities. He had tested positive in London a day before his scheduled flight home to New York, he said, but returned home three days later.

“I got my clearance document within an hour it was so easy,” he said.

Quick MD did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Ms. Fishman made it back home in time for the wedding and never developed Covid-19 symptoms, although she said she felt exhausted, which she blamed on the stress caused by the ordeal of trying to get back in time.

“My chances of catching Covid in Miami are just as high as catching it while I travel so the testing requirement is useless in my opinion,” she said.

Travelers contemplating a similar route should be warned that they can be caught out. Ms. Purdy, of the Canadian border services, noted that violating instructions upon entering Canada could lead to up to six months in prison, 750,000 Canadian dollars in fines (around $586,000) or both.



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Dodgers broadcast team won’t travel to upcoming away games due to positive COVID tests


The Dodgers announced Wednesday that their broadcast team will not be traveling to the upcoming away games in Philadelphia and Washington due to positive COVID cases.

The Dodgers released a statement saying, “Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided not to travel their broadcasters to the upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington.”

The team said the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles similar to how they were in 2020 and in 2021.





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What Travel Agents Should Do if Clients Test Positive for COVID-19


It’s one of every travel advisor’s worst scenarios – what to do when a client tests positive for COVID while traveling internationally.

With mask mandates being lifted around the world, many travel advisors are trying to determine how to advocate for clients who test positive while traveling internationally.

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Here are the stories of three travel advisors who dealt with that issue.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

Have a Plan (and a Back-up Plan) in Place

Trish Gastineau of Simply Customized Travel has had three different trips canceled or interrupted by COVID.

In the first case, a mother and two daughters who were traveling to Jamaica had to cancel their vacation in January 2022 when one of the daughters tested positive prior to the trip.

“One of the daughters lives in a remote rural location in the country and had to drive hours to get to a CVS to have her test done,” Gastineau said.

“On her drive back home, she received notification that she had tested positive. It was less than 24 hours prior to their departure, but thankfully we had taken a Cancel For Any Reason with the option to get a Future Travel Credit waiver that the travel partner provided.

“We jumped on the phone and got it canceled right away! The client has a credit she can use, and part of my commission was protected. The client was very thankful that the positive test happened at the start of the trip instead of while they were in Jamaica.

“I don’t think that the possibility of having to quarantine overseas and not come home right away was real for her until that point. She says they will not be traveling internationally until the test requirement to reenter the US is dropped.”


Sunrise in Jamaica
Sunrise in Jamaica. (photo by Codie Liermann)

More recently, two sets of Gastineau’s clients tested positive for COVID while on an upscale river cruise in Europe.

About three days into the cruise, the wife of one of the couples began to feel unwell and tested positive for COVID.

The line gave the husband and wife the option of being put in separate rooms, but they chose to stay together. “I worked with the travel partner to put some options in place in case the client didn’t test negative by the end of the cruise,” Gastineau said.

“The afternoon prior to the end of the cruise, the husband tested negative again, so we implemented the plan to transfer them to a Virtuoso hotel that would accept them while they quarantined.

“Unfortunately, they were traveling with friends and one of them tested positive at the same time, so we just rolled them into our plan and got them a room of their own.

“The country that they were in would only allow a re-test to be done five days after the first positive test.”

The original couple both tested positive, so their five-day clock had to start over.

The second couple both tested negative, and Gastineau was able to get them on a flight the next morning.

After five more nights, the original couple both tested negative, and Gastineau booked them flights home the next day.

“The first thing that I did when working with these clients, before they put money down, was to talk with them about the potential of testing positive and what that might look like for them,” Gastineau said. “There are always so many moving parts, and there is no one way to give an accurate description of what exactly would happen. We talk about a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and then a Hail Mary Plan.”

Gastineau also discussed the best options for travel protection insurance, detailing what would – and would not – be covered.

“Be careful here – get the insurance company on the phone to answer specific ‘what if’ questions,” she said. “Don’t put yourself in a position where you might give false or misleading information. Go to the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

“If the client doesn’t want this valuable coverage, cover yourself by having them sign a waiver.”

Gastineau also recommended that advisors check with the airline and their supplier partners to determine what their COVID policies are.

“We did this prior to each one of these cases so that when we got the positive tests, our resources were ready, and I didn’t have to waste time.”

She noted that it is important to stay in close contact once a client tests positive.

“I used Facetime’s voice feature to call my clients every day just to say, ‘Hi, how do you feel?’ and to offer suggestions when 11 days of the same room service menu got to be too much.”


German smart phone apps
It’s important to stay in contact with clients while they quarantine. (photo via Pixabay)

It’s Crucial To Have Travel Insurance and Follow the Rules

Katie Levent of Elite Travel Group booked a small group of women on a birthday celebration trip to Mexico and when they took the required COVID test prior to departure, “the birthday girl tested positive and everyone else was negative,” she said.

“She called me in a panic because she didn’t purchase the offered travel insurance and asked me what she should do, so I advised her that the hotel would give her a discounted rate for the time she needed to quarantine there.”

Resort staff informed the woman that she was not to leave her room, and she agreed.

“However, she left her room later that night to go get something to eat at one of the restaurants and they caught her,” Levent said.

“So, they told her she was no longer allowed as a guest at the resort and had to leave. She called in a panic, and I was in disbelief.

“She asked me to book another hotel for her but for ethical reasons I told her I was unable to, and she would have to take care of it on her own.”


Quarantine room
Quarantine room (photo courtesy tzahiV/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Showing Support Will Go a Long Way

Julie Lanham of Vacations To Remember had three clients test positive for COVID – two in Mexico and one in Paris.

In January 2022, two of her female clients tested positive at different resorts in Mexico. One was on her honeymoon, and the other was a mother vacationing with a family of five.

“They both contacted me within an hour of each other and I assisted by communicating with the resort, changing flights, rebooking transfers and lots of keeping them calm,” Lanham said.

The resort where the honeymoon clients were staying let them test each day until they received negative results, which took three days.

“The resort allowed her husband to stay with her for $280 per night,” she said.

“The mom sent her husband and kids home and was moved to another room but did not have to pay to stay. She was not allowed to retest and given a letter of recovery on day five to fly home on day six.”

During the week of May 9, 2022, another client became ill on a tour vacation in Paris.


The French Flag waving with Paris and the Eiffel Tower in the background.
The French Flag waving with Paris and the Eiffel Tower in the background. (photo via iStock/Getty Images Plus/Querbeet)

The woman’s husband was moved to another room for the last two nights and flew home as planned. “The wife stayed and was actually very sick,” Lanham said.

“I rebooked her flight, stayed in touch with her multiple times a day, had the hotel concierge arrange for a doctor to come to her room and on day eight she tested negative and flew home on day nine.

Lanham recommended that advisors remind clients it is a possibility that they could test positive for COVID and “that you will be there to support them and help navigate but that you cannot change the outcome or answer specific questions as there is no rule book for this,” she said.

“There is no concrete answer on how long one particular country will require quarantine or how long before they might test negative. Clients look to us as the authority when they are traveling and in this case, we have very little – or none. We think the airlines have answers or a guideline and they do not.”

In the end, like COVID itself, there is no definitive rulebook regarding solutions to help clients who are quarantined internationally.

Welcome to the new normal.





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Summer Travel 3 Positive Trends For Travellers to Explore Stress Free Post COVID


Summer Travel Trends: India has restored certain levels of travel normalcy with the removal of Covid-19 restrictions and the reopening of international borders after two years. The coming of the summer travel season, combined with the relaxation of limitations, has boosted people’s travel confidence once again. After two straight summers of lockdown, 2022 will be remembered as the first summer season in which people will be able to move freely and without fear.Also Read – How to do Char Dham Yatra via Helicopter? Here’s Your Guide For The Best Experience!

3 Positive Trends to Promote Travel and Tourism During the Summers:

  • Destinations and accommodation options

Travelers are eager to resume large bucket trips with their friends and family after a two-year pause caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This summer travel season, combined with the upcoming long weekends, has prompted individuals to book vacations for a relaxing and refreshing respite from the monotony of daily life. While individuals enjoy a variety of lodging alternatives, hotels account for 80% of bookings for summer, while alternative lodgings such as villas, cottages, and homestays account for 20%. Overall, hotel bookings have reached 90% of pre-covid levels, and the trend is continuing. Also Read – Man Tours Entire India in 9 Months With Only Rs 12,000 During the Pandemic. Here’s How

  • International and Domestic bookings

With international flights resumed and traveller trust restored, an average rise of 85 percent in domestic flight bookings and 95 percent in international flight bookings compared to pre-crisis levels. Further investigation reveals that friends and family account for the majority of domestic travel, accounting for 40% of booking inquiries. Also Read – Best Places to Visit in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE For Kids, Couples, Cultural Nomads And Adventure Junkies

The most popular domestic destinations among travellers are:

  1. Ladakh
  2. Himachal Pradesh
  3. The Northeast
  4. Kashmir

Top overseas destinations for travellers during summer are:

  1. Paris
  2. Switzerland
  3. Thailand
  4. Singapore
  5. Bali
  6. Dubai
  7. Mauritius
  • Company offers and packages

Domestic and international destinations provide distinct experiences, and the travel and hospitality industry is ready to attract more visitors by, among other things, delivering individualised services and packages. Various campaigns encourage and inspire people to travel and experience different domestic and international destinations.

“The arrival of summer season along with a positive outlook of travelers after two years has brought a sense of relief to the travel and hospitality industry. With people exhilarated on taking trips to various offbeat destinations, Yatra.com has witnessed an increase in booking demands by 70% especially for leisure cities. To beat the scorching summer heat, people are making travel plans with friends to take up water adventure sports such as Coasteering, White Water Rafting, Windsurfing, and Jet Skiing this summer season,” says Sabina Chopra, Co-Founder of, and COO, of Yatra Online.

(Authored article by Sabina Chopra, Co-Founder of, and COO, of Yatra Online)





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Kamala Harris tests positive for COVID-19


Washington — Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for COVID-19, her office announced Tuesday.

Harris, 57, received positive rapid and PCR tests, but is exhibiting no symptoms, according to her press secretary Kirsten Allen. She will isolate and work from the vice president’s residence. Allen added that Harris is taking Pfizer’s Paxlovid antiviral pills, which can reduce the risk of becoming severely ill, at the direction of her physicians.

Harris has not been a close contact to either President Biden or first lady Dr. Jill Biden because of their recent travel schedules, the statement said, and will return to the White House once she tests negative. She has been vaccinated and received two booster shots.

“Today I tested positive for COVID-19. I have no symptoms, and I will continue to isolate and follow CDC guidelines. I’m grateful to be both vaccinated and boosted,” Harris tweeted.

Mr. Biden and Harris spoke on the phone Tuesday afternoon, and the president “wanted to check in and make sure she has everything she needs as she quarantines at home,” according to the White House.

The vice president’s positive diagnosis comes more than a month after her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, tested positive for COVID-19. 

Several other members of the White House staff, including Harris’s communications director Jamal Simmons and Jill Biden’s press secretary Michael LaRosa, also received positive tests earlier this month, as did top Washington officials including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

The vice president was set to meet with Mr. Biden in the Oval Office on Tuesday morning to receive a daily intelligence briefing, though she did not participate in the meeting, her spokesperson said. 

A White House official told CBS News that Harris did go to the White House on Tuesday morning and was tested for the coronavirus in her West Wing office as part of her regular routine. Harris then left the White House in her motorcade after receiving a positive test.

She last saw the president on April 18, the day of the White House Easter Egg Roll, after which she departed for California, where she spent the week attending events. Harris returned to Washington on Monday from Los Angeles.

In addition to being first in the presidential line of succession, Harris also plays a crucial role in the 50-50 Senate, casting tie-breaking votes.

“I think if you take a step back and look at the vice president, she is boosted, especially twice,” White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha told reporters Tuesday. “We have a very, very contagious variant out there. It is going to be hard to ensure that no one gets COVID in America. That’s not even a policy goal.” 

While the nation saw a steep drop in new coronavirus infections following a mid-January peak driven by the highly contagious Omicron, there has been a slight uptick in cases over the past few weeks due to the emergence of the new BA.2 sublineage of the Omicron variant. 

As part of its efforts to protect Americans from the virus and bolster access to treatments, the White House announced Tuesday it is expanding availability of Paxlovid. First authorized by the Food and Drug Administration in December, the pills were in short supply, but delivery of the antiviral has since been accelerated.

The White House is also launching more “test-to-treat” sites, where Americans can be tested and, if they are found to have the coronavirus, receive free oral antiviral pills in one visit.

Weijia Jiang and Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.





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Six music festivals making a positive impact in 2022


The global spread of the coronavirus is disrupting travel. Stay up to date on the science behind the outbreak>>

If the pandemic has left you yearning for travel and live music, but also keen to make sure your hard-earned money goes to a good cause, check out this selection of festivals from Porto to New York.

A light show during a performance at DGTL Amsterdam.

Photograph by Tim Buiting

Published 16 Apr 2022, 06:06 BST

After two mainly fallow years, music festivals are making a triumphant return — and most are bigger and better than ever before. This year’s festival calendar is bursting with old favourites and new offerings alike, catering to pent-up demand for live music. From mega weekends and boutique affairs to greenfield gatherings and metropolitan multi-venues, festivalgoers are spoilt for choice this year. So perhaps it’s more critical than ever to ensure time, money and your travel miles are spent wisely this summer.

The enforced downtime gave organisers a rare chance to reflect on the environmental and societal impact of their festivals and make changes for the better. Issues such as sustainability, gender equality and activism have been bumped up the bill and now take centre stage. From a fully circular electronic event in the Netherlands to a gender-balanced festival in Spain, we’ve selected six festivals that are making a positive impact in 2022.

1. DGTL, Amsterdam

16-17 April

The DGTL brand is as widely celebrated for its electronic music events as it is for its green technologies. The brand’s flagship event in Amsterdam’s industrial NDSM Docklands has become somewhat of a testing ground for urban sustainability, pioneering solutions for all kinds of green issues. According to DTGL, the 2022 edition is set to be the world’s first fully circular festival, including ‘pee-to-tea’ concepts and optional steps to reduce CO2 emissions. The event, held in a huge former shipyard, also uses less than 100ml of waste per visitor and zero usage of diesel. What’s more, DGTL is sharing the secrets to its sustainability success via a blueprint, which can be used by other festivals and cities. So, this Easter, electronic music fans can dance to artists including Jon Hopkins and Âme & Dixon with a cleaner conscience.

2. Primavera Sound, Barcelona

2-12 June

In 2019, Primavera Sound launched its ‘New Normal’ campaign, becoming the first globally recognised music festival to achieve and commit to a gender-balanced line-up with a bill comprised of at least 50% women and non-binary people. While some festivals are using the pandemic as an excuse to take a raincheck on such pledges, Primavera Sound’s Marta Pallarès says that festivals “can’t afford to go back to pale, male and stale”. Despite the Barcelona festival doubling in size for this year’s belated 20th anniversary edition, it has made good on its promise once again. Acts including Megan Thee Stallion, Dua Lipa, Lorde, Jorja Smith, Charli XCX, Caroline Polachek, Clairo, Little Simz, Courtney Barnett and Celeste are helping to tip the gender balance scales. These are just a few of the 400+ acts due to perform at Primavera’s waterfront residence, Parc del Fòrum, across the two weekends in June. Located between the district of Sant Martí in Barcelona and Sant Adrià, the venue provides a lush Mediterranean backdrop for world-class acts.

A child on his father’s shoulders in front of the stage at Primavera festival.

Photograph by Kimberley Ross

3. LGBT+ music festival, Portugal

1-3 July

Porto will become the epicentre of Europe’s Pride festivities in July, when the city plays host to both the Gay Pride March and the LGBT+ music festival. The festival will see LGBTQ pop stars, gay icons and allies perform on four different stages across Portugal’s second-biggest city. Iggy Azalea, Melanie C, Little Boots, Gloria Groove, Bimini Bon Boulash, Todrick Hall and Jodie Harsh are slated to make appearances. The main festival site will be taking place on the banks of the Douro river, with other stages located around the medieval Ribeira district. Festivalgoers will also have the chance to explore Porto’s vibrant queer scene via a number of afterparties in venues across the city, too.  

The main stage at Exit festival.

Photograph by Exit Festival

4. Exit, Serbia

7-10 July

Social activism is in Exit festival’s DNA. The Novi Sad-based event launched two decades ago as a student movement against President Milosevic, as they fought for peace and freedom. It’s said to be the first place that youth from all former Yugoslav republics gathered after a decade of civil wars. Following the Yugoslavian general election in 2000, Exit moved from the city’s University Park to Petrovaradin’s medieval fortress on the bank of the Danube river, but social responsibility has remained a key focus. Through the festival’s foundation and partnerships with the Serbian government and the United Nations, it’s working on projects to combat the hunger crisis, deforestation and climate change. These projects and partnerships are woven into the fabric of the event, where festivalgoers can see some of the world’s leading speakers, artists, scientists, entrepreneurs and activists take to the stage alongside music titans such as Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds and Calvin Harris.

Stage at Pol’and’Rock festival.

Photograph by Michal_Kwasniewski

5. Pol’and’Rock, Poland

4-6 August

Known as Poland’s Woodstock Festival, Pol’and’Rock aims to create “a haven for all lovers of freedom”. The Płoty-based event has been running for more than 25 years and typically attracts an audience of almost half a million people, making it the largest free festival in Europe. Pol’and’Rock uses its mammoth platform to promote ideals of love and friendship, thus forging a refuge from some of the more conservative aspects of Polish society. One of the event’s traditions is unfolding a huge Polish flag over the main stage audience to show that everyone has a place underneath it. The festival is also an advocate of LGBT+ rights in Poland and has previously invited queer-friendly artists such as Skunk Anansie, Polish pop star Majka JeżowskaPol, and Polish singers Ralph Kaminski and Krzysztof Zalewski. Another staple of the event is the Academy of the Finest Arts tent, which hosts hundreds of different NGOs, associations and organisations. Greenpeace and Amnesty International are among the organisations that pitch up to educate festivalgoers on their initiatives via workshops, debates, and presentations.

6. Let’s Get Fr.ee, New York

20-21 August

Launching this summer in New York’s diverse Queens borough, the Let’s Get Fr.ee festival will celebrate artists of colour. The festival is the brainchild of Afropunk founder Matthew Morgan, whose aim is “to close the equity gap for Black, Brown, Asian, and other underrepresented people in the entertainment industry, with the aim of achieving a diversified workforce across all levels in the industry by 2030”. To implement this, the festival is vowing to only work with brands and companies who commit to long-term systemic change. Morgan has enlisted acts such as Missy Elliott, Kali Uchis, Jhené Aiko, Ozuna, and Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals for the cause. They will perform in the historic Flushing Meadows Corona Park, home to the US Open tennis championships and a 12-storey globe sculpture from the 1964 World’s Fair.



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NSW records seven deaths, 4916 cases; Three deaths, 5611 new cases in Victoria; First flights arrive after international borders reopen; Sydney train strike updates; Queen tests positive for COVID-19


NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has blamed the transport union over today’s Sydney rail shutdown.

All train services were cancelled today, with commuters and workers alike blindsided by the overnight announcement.

Union representatives have said the shutdown was not a planned strike and instead blamed the government for the suspension.

But Mr Perrottet said industrial action is to blame, after a breakdown of communication on Sunday.

“I’m incredibly disappointed. I feel the anger of everybody across our city,” Mr Perrottet said.

“The first day we have international arrivals coming in, a day where mums and dads are trying to get their kids to school,a day when many university students are going back to class for the first time. Many people as a result of our announcement last week, returning to work,” Mr Perrottet said.

He added that the unions need to deal with industrial issues in a reasonable way.

“If there are industrial issues which I have flagged right across the public service, then we deal with it in a thoughtful, measured way that puts people at the heart of it,” Mr Perrottet said.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful. It should be condemned.”



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What to do if you test positive for covid in a foreign country


Everyone who leaves the United States needs to present a negative coronavirus test or proof of recent recovery from the virus before reentering the country. But aside from that overarching rule, the nuances can vary widely.

John Rose, chief risk and security officer for the travel management company Altour, said the country a traveler is visiting may be much more strict than the one they left.

“They’re not trying to punish the traveler; they’re trying to keep their population safe,” he said. “They may have more stringent quarantine policies than the United States does.”

And while those rules can be “all over the place,” he does have some universal recommendations, including buying travel insurance that covers hospitalization, trip interruptions and delays, and learning about travel restrictions in the destination country from a site called Sherpa.

The U.S. State Department warns citizens traveling internationally that they may have to extend, at their own expense, their stay abroad if they test positive. Travelers also are subject to the quarantine requirements in the country they are visiting. The department offers country-specific information on U.S. Embassy websites, which may include instructions for what to do in case of a positive test.

The department says citizens who test positive abroad should contact their accommodations and airlines about options for staying longer and rescheduling a flight; check embassy websites for English-speaking health-care providers if they need medical treatment; and contact the nearest embassy or consulate if they need help or have questions. Many countries will require proof of a negative test to leave quarantine, the department says.

The Washington Post spoke to several travelers who tested positive on recent trips — domestic and international — to hear their stories and learn from their experiences. Here’s what they learned.

Prioritize a PCR test if you feel sick

For Christmas, Katie Hale, her mom and her brother traveled to Costa Rica to visit her sister, who is in the country on a work-study program. They arrived Dec. 19 with plans to leave the 29th.

That’s not how things worked out. Hale, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, started to feel cold symptoms — congestion, but no cough or fever — the day after arriving. She was going to get tested at a clinic until her sister found a home test. It was negative.

“I was pretty convinced that I didn’t have it,” she said. Plus, she had been vaccinated and boosted.

Still, Hale, who is studying biochemistry, felt sick enough to stay put. She recovered and had no symptoms by the time she had to take the coronavirus test required for reentry into the United States. It was positive.

The health ministry informed her that she would have to quarantine for 10 days, starting the day of her test. Authorities warned her that she would be added to a no-fly list until her isolation time ended.

“I was like, that sounds really intense,” she said.

Hale learned she would be able to get a certificate of recovery from authorities instead of relying on testing negative — tests can be positive for the virus even after people are no longer contagious — so she called a few days before her quarantine ended to make sure everything was in order. She knew her last day of quarantine would be Jan. 6, so her airline had switched her to a flight that left at 7:30 a.m. the next day.

When she checked to make sure the recovery documentation would be available in time for her morning flight, she learned the office didn’t open until 8 a.m. But her contact at the health ministry went the extra mile: “She was like, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll stay up ‘til midnight, and at 12:01 I’ll sign the form and send it to you,’” Hale said. “All of my trust was in this woman. She pulled through and she did it.”

Hale finally made it home to Charlotte on Jan. 7.

She said she would advise anyone with symptoms to get a more sensitive PCR test — not a rapid antigen test — at a clinic as early as possible. If she had tested positive at a clinic when she initially felt sick, she would have only spent two extra days in quarantine, not 10.

She also advises reading up on the coronavirus rules in your destination to learn what to expect from a positive test, how quarantine works and when it starts.

“A lot of the stress came from not knowing and trying to piece together information,” Hale said.

Insurance is ‘fundamental’ for a long isolation

Veronica Strazzari, a 38-year-old resident of Milan, was supposed to fly back home after an organized tour in Saudi Arabia on Jan. 2 when she got her positive test result. A roommate on the trip had tested positive a few days earlier, but Strazzari, who is vaccinated and boosted, had no symptoms.

Her trip had started in Riyadh before moving to Jiddah, and she made the Jiddah hotel her home for 13 days of self-isolation.

Strazzari tested positive again several days later, then again two days after that, and finally got a negative result after a test on Jan. 13. She made it back to Milan, where she works in marketing for Prada, on Saturday.

The agency that arranged the trip handled the changes to her travel plans and walked her through the steps she needed to take. A contact at the Italian Embassy also provided support.

Thankfully for her, she had insurance to cover the extra time in the hotel and any flight changes. The policy covered an additional 15 days beyond the original end date of her trip — a limit she nearly reached.

“The insurance during the trip is fundamental,” she said.

Strazzari said she loves travel and plans to continue, though she said it is also important to be well-versed in the rules in case of a positive test abroad. She said she brought her laptop, knowing there was a possibility of getting stuck, and worked long days from isolation.

“It was a hard situation, I know, but you can learn from it,” she said from her hotel the day before leaving. “You think about the importance of freedom.”

Be prepared for bureaucratic headaches

Eric Sussman was feeling “brazen, confident and ready to party” with his three Pfizer shots, he said, when he headed to Dubai to teach an international business class.

The Los Angeles-based professor ended up getting an education in the emirate’s covid-19 protocols after testing positive during the trip and spending 10 days in isolation, many of them in a cruise-ship-turned-floating-hotel.

“Where would you most want to be when you have covid?” he said during one of the many covid diary updates he posted on social media. “That’s right, stuck on a cruise ship.”

He said his positive PCR test triggered an alert to the authorities, who transferred him to the quarantine hotel. Sussman, 55, who teaches accounting, finance and real estate at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, had no idea what the rules were when he arrived in Dubai.

He was supposed to return to Los Angeles on Dec. 23, but he ended up returning a week after that. He suffered what felt like a nasty head cold along with a sinus infection.

The real stress came when it was time to leave after quarantining for 10 days. He said the health authority promised to provide documentation saying he was free to leave the country by 2 a.m. on the day of his departure. He still didn’t have the paperwork as he prepared to head to the airport for his 8:30 a.m. flight. He figured he would show them his original positive test and the bill for the quarantine hotel, and someone at the airport would call the health authority to confirm.

“That’s where the bureaucratic quagmire begins,” he said.

He was at the airport for seven hours and missed his flight. He finally got the necessary certificate later that day, and the next day the airline employees said they had to charge him a $600 no-show fee for checking in to the earlier flight but not boarding. He fought the charge, and the airline ultimately dropped it.

But he did have to pay a “boffo” change fee to switch his original flight. Between that and the quarantine hotel stay, his trip cost grew by $5,000. Because the trip was insured, he said, he will be reimbursed that amount.

Looking back, Sussman said, he would not have trusted the health authority to come through with the certificate clearing him to fly on the morning of his trip home. He said he should have asked the hotel to stay on top of the clearance that he needed.

Though he worked during his isolation, he also had plenty of time to fill.

“Make sure you’ve got all your streaming services available and at the ready,” he said. “If you’re in quarantine for 10 days … you’re going to watch a [boat]load of TV.”

Turn to telemedicine for proof of recovery

Molly Brown plans other people’s travel for a living, but, as she found out during her honeymoon in France, even an expert might find it dizzying to navigate a coronavirus diagnosis abroad.

Brown, 29, arrived in Paris on Dec. 27 and started looking for a coronavirus test over New Year’s weekend. By the time she found one, she was a few days past the first symptoms. The slight itch in her throat was so mild she initially thought it came from secondhand smoke.

After starting the trip in Paris and unsuccessfully trying to find a test there for several days, she tested positive on a rapid test in Annecy, near the Swiss border, and then stood in line for six hours to confirm with a PCR test. She and her husband had a vacation rental in the small town and isolated there, though her husband never tested positive.

She passed the time trying to figure out what was required for her to get home — and to get into Switzerland, where her return flight was scheduled. The CDC had just changed its guidance to tell people to isolate for five days; France had lowered its own isolation time to seven days for fully vaccinated people.

“It was really a game of ‘How do we get home? What does that look like?’” she said.

Brown discovered that by the time her flight home was scheduled, she could get a document of recovery. Ten days would have passed since her first symptoms, and she had improved. After clarifying what documentation of recovery would include, she turned to the telemedicine service QuickMD.

She got an appointment within 24 hours with a practitioner licensed in her state, had a telemedicine appointment through an app, and got a letter with the necessary documentation within an hour. Insurance covered the $75 fee, she said.

Her advice: Make sure you know what the airline will require, and decide which route works for the particular situation. If you meet the health criteria, it may be easier to obtain proof of recovery than a negative test. Brown made her original flight back, and she has been back home in Denver since Jan. 8.

“I feel like all things considered, it was pretty lucky, even though we did have to isolate for like a week on the honeymoon,” she said.





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Experts seeing positive spring travel outlook


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – Spring is right around the corner with a positive outlook for air travel this year.

If you’re planning spring travel, especially in the coming weeks, now may be the time to buy your tickets.

According to Hopper, a travel booking app , Spring Break airfare prices are down by 6% in comparison to 2019 but prices are expected to rise 45% between now and mid-March.

Glen Thomas with the Memphis International Airport says the coming weeks will be busy. So far leisure travel makes up a majority of the trips the airport sees.

“We’re seeing good signs already. We have been tracking anywhere from 80 to 90% of where we were in 2019 which was a record setting year and that’s really largely without business travel. So as business travel returns, we could see those numbers exceed 2019 levels,” Thomas said.

Top places where mid-southerners are traveling include Orlando, Dallas, LA, South Florida and Atlanta.

Thomas says some routes are making their return and more options are on the way.

“Yes, we have recovered most of the flights that were suspended during the pandemic. We’ve also gained a few and we’ve had a few announcements. Spirit starts later this year. Also, both Delta and American are starting nonstop flights to Boston later this year,” Thomas said.

So, if you’re planning to fly in the coming weeks, prepare ahead.

“Get here 2 hours before your flight departure time. Gives you plenty of time to park. Plenty of time to get through security. Worst case, you get here a little bit early, and you can enjoy some of these new amenities,” Thomas said.

Copyright 2022 WMC. All rights reserved.

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Covid latest news: New travel rules for vaccinated tourists as Prince Charles tests positive again


Boris Johnson announces plan to end all Covid restrictions this month

Eighteen days after the transport secretary said the post-arrival test for fully vaccinated travellers to the UK had “outlived its usefulness”, the requirement is being scrapped from 4am on 11 February.

The minister, Grant Shapps, said on Thursday afternoon that the change was “a landmark moment for international travel” – adding that the UK is becoming “one of the most open countries in the world”.

Meanwhile, Prince Charles has tested positive for Covid a second time, Clarence House has said.

A message on the prince’s official Twitter page said: “This morning The Prince of Wales has tested positive for Covid-19 and is now self-isolating.

The news comes hours after Prince Charles and wife Camilla rubbed shoulders with home secretary Priti Patel and chancellor Rishi Sunak at a British Asian Trust event hosted at the British Museum last night.

It is the second time the 73-year-old has contracted coronavirus after testing positive in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. He displayed mild symptoms and was said to be in good health at the time of the infection.

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Another US state drops mask mandate

Governor Steve Sisolak of Nevada has announced that the statewide mask mandate for indoor public settings would lift, joining a growing list of states including New York and California in relaxing restrictions.

“Masks will no longer be required in public places, but there are still some locations where you may be asked to wear a mask,” Mr Sisolak said on Thursday in an address.

While some of the US states have lifted indoor mask requirements already but only for vaccinated residents, Nevada is lifting its mandate for everyone, regardless of vaccine status.

“There’s a certain group of the population, a percentage — and we can debate what that percentage is — that’s not going to get the vaccine,” Mr Sisolak, a Democrat, said in an online news conference on Thursday.

He added, “I don’t want to hold the entire society back, or the entire economy back, as a result of some people that don’t want to get the vaccine.”

The mask mandate will lift for all residents of the state, regardless of vaccination status while any at-risk individuals with underlying health issues have been encouraged to continue wearing masks. Individual businesses will be able to institute their own mask guidance if they choose.

(AP)

Stuti Mishra11 February 2022 05:45

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Covid passes and need for face coverings in some venues to be scrapped in Wales

Covid passes are to be scrapped and the need to wear face coverings in certain venues removed later this month as coronavirus cases continue to fall, the Welsh Government has announced.

The changes will be confirmed on Friday during the first three-week review of Wales’s alert level zero measures.

First MinisterMark Drakeford said vaccination levels and decreasing infection rates mean the country can “look forward to brighter times ahead”.

He signalled that face masks could be scrapped completely by the end of March should public health conditions continue to improve.



We are not removing all the measures at once because the pandemic is not over yet

First Minister Mark Drakeford

Bronwen Weatherby has more:

Stuti Mishra11 February 2022 05:24

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New Zealand protesters occupy parliament grounds for fourth day

More people arrived outside New Zealand’s parliament on Friday, as protesters calling for an end to a vaccine mandate and tough Covid-19 restrictions refused to end their demonstrations despite arrests by the police.

It’s been four days since several thousand protesters, inspired by truckers’ demonstrations in Canada, occupied the parliament lawns in the capital Wellington, and blocked surrounding streets with their trucks, cars, camper vans and motorcycles.

On Thursday, the police arrested 120 people as they attempted to forcefully remove the protesters, but were seen falling back later in the day as the campers refused to move.

The police said in a statement on Friday that there were no incidents of note overnight at the parliament grounds, although 2 more people were arrested for “alcohol-related behaviour”.

“Police continue to take a measured approach to the protesters, who are trespassing on the grounds of Parliament and have been repeatedly asked to leave,” Superintendent Corrie Parnell said in the statement.

Protesters hold placards as they support the convoy of vehicles blocking New Zealand’s Parliament in Wellington

(NZME via AP)

There are a range of different causes and motivations among the protesters, making it difficult to open clear and meaningful lines of communication, the police said, adding that misinformation, particularly on social media, has been identified as an issue.

The protesters ignored calls from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to “move on”. The continuing standoff is mounting political pressure on Ms Ardern, whose approval ratings taking a hit in recent opinion polls.

Despite garnering plaudits for keeping the country virtually virus-free over the last two years, the strict restrictions that are still in place have become unpopular.

Stuti Mishra11 February 2022 04:50

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Prince Charles tests positive for the second time

A message on the prince’s official Twitter page said: “This morning The Prince of Wales has tested positive for Covid-19 and is now self-isolating.

The news comes hours after Prince Charles and wife Camilla rubbed shoulders with home secretary Priti Patel and chancellor Rishi Sunak at a British Asian Trust event hosted at the British Museum last night.

It is the second time the 73-year-old has contracted coronavirus after testing positive in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. He displayed mild symptoms and was said to be in good health at the time of the infection.

Thomas Kingsley has more:

Stuti Mishra11 February 2022 04:30

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Arrival testing ends for fully vaccinated travellers to the UK

Under the new rules, which are now in effect, fully vaccinated travellers do not have to undergo Covid test on arrival.

Unvaccinated travellers heading for the UK must take a pre-departure test and, after arrival, a PCR – but will no longer need to self-isolate for 10 days.

The minister, Grant Shapps, said on Thursday afternoon that the change was “a landmark moment for international travel” – adding that the UK is becoming “one of the most open countries in the world”.

He tweeted: “After nearly two years of necessary but complex travel arrangements, these changes will make it cheaper and easier for families to travel, taking advantage of the UK’s high levels of vaccination, and keeping us all safe.” More details here:

Stuti Mishra11 February 2022 04:16

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ICYMI: UK Covid restrictions to end a month early, says PM

Covid restrictions in the UK are set to end a full month earlier than expected, Boris Johnson said on Wednesday.

“It is my intention to return on the first day after the half-term recess to present our strategy for living with Covid,” Mr Johnson said at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

“Provided the current encouraging trends in the data continue, it is my expectation that we will be able to end the last domestic restrictions – including the legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive – a full month early.”

Ashley Cowburn has all the details here

Arpan Rai10 February 2022 07:03

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Monthly deaths lower than forecast in England, Wales: Data

Official data on deaths showed that the fatalities remained below the five-year average in January even as a fresh wave of Omicron-led cases swept the country.

Nearly 5,000 fewer people were reported dead across England and Wales in the last month, which is less than the predicted deaths pushed by the toll from coronavirus.

The five-year average for deaths in England and Wales in the first four weeks of 2022 remained at 55,13, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed,

However, the numbers of death registered last month were reported to bee 50,740.

Covid-related deaths have accounted for 11.2 per cent of all the fatalities in the final week of January recorded by the ONS, official data showed,

Thomas Kingsley reports on this here:

Arpan Rai10 February 2022 06:55

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PM did not give appropriate notice over Covid restrictions, say Scottish ministers

Boris Johnson has been accused of not giving “appropriate notice” ahead of his latest decision to lift the existing local Covid rules, ministers in Scotland said, adding that they need more clarity.

“The UK Government failed to provide devolved nations with appropriate notice to consider implications ahead of the announcement by the Prime Minister,” said a spokesperson for the Scottish government.

The spokesperson added that the Scottish ministers are urgently seeking clarity from the UK Government to consider any implications its announcement could have for Scotland.

“Regardless of decisions made by the UK Government, it is vital that Scotland can continue to access funding to support the policy decisions taken in Scotland in response to Covid-19,” the spokesperson said.

Katherine Hay has the full report here

Arpan Rai10 February 2022 06:34

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Clinically vulnerable and carers excluded from PM’s self-isolation plan

Boris Johnson’s plan to end self-isolation and asking people to live with the virus has left the clinically vulnerable and care-givers bracing themselves for a tough time.

Health charity worker Georgina Sait in Suffolk is concerned about the safety of her family as well the financial impact on care workers.

“They haven’t thought about how it’s going to impact people who are still vulnerable to Covid,” she said.

“It’s very frustrating that we have just been left out of the planning and the conversation.”

Similarly, one parent of a clinically vulnerable 23-year-old feels she has been “left out of the conversation” as England moved to scrap the self-isolation requirement.

People will not be required to self-isolate in the coming few weeks, announced Mr Johnson on Wednesday, as he prepares to tell people to live with Covid when Parliament resumes on 21 February.

Read the full story here:

Arpan Rai10 February 2022 05:58

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Scientists say Boris Johnson playing ‘fast and loose’ with people’s health

Prime minister Boris Johnson has been accused of playing ‘fast and loose with people’s health’ as he moved to end Covid-19 restrictions as early as this month’s end, contrary to plans of ending them in March.

Scientists who have questioned the move are calling the decision an experiment that could go on to be either “very brave or very stupid”.

Dr Simon Clarke, an associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, called the move “an experiment which will either be shown to be very brave or very stupid – but nobody knows for sure what the result will be”.

Only the guidelines which require people to stay home after testing positive — akin to after contracting any infectious disease —will be in place, in the new set of guidelines.

This will not be legally enforceable.

My colleagues Samuel Lovett and Ashley Cowburn have the full report here.

Arpan Rai10 February 2022 05:39





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